The winner of Tuesday's Daily Prize Drawing is ...
Kristi from Sisters in Scribe
You win a free package of Carolyn Howard-Johnson's ebooks: The Frugal Editor and The Frugal Promoter.
Please email me your email address so I can hook you up with Carolyn. Congratulations and thanks so much for following me and participating this week!
For rules and schedule, go here.
Marketing to Indies (Marietta Zacker, Nancy Gallt Literary Agent and Indie Bookstore Owner)
Don't forget to Follow me and comment on this post for a chance to win today's Daily Prize! Today's prize includes a query OR/one chapter critique from Marietta along with a follow up phone call to discuss!!! Good luck!
Hi Marietta. Thanks for celebrating Mardi Gras with us this week!
Hi Shelli, thanks so much for giving me this opportunity to share a little bit about myself while adding to the conversation about marketing and children’s books.
FYI: Marietta is pronounced (Ma-Ree-Eh-Tuh). If you are really good, you can roll the "R". She loves that!!! :)
Before we get into the good stuff, tell me about yourself, your bookstore, and your agency.
I am an agent with the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency and own an independent children’s bookstore, Sparkhouse, nestled inside a toy store. Without a doubt – and I imagine, not surprisingly – my work in one informs my work in the other.
At the agency, Nancy and I work collaboratively in every aspect of our work, from reading manuscripts to negotiating contracts to guiding our clients. Nancy opened the agency 10 years ago and I joined her in 2008. We are proud to represent some of the most amazing writers and illustrators in the industry – both published and yet-to-be published.
At the bookstore, they call me the Book Curator (we firmly believe that every book is a work of art) – I select the books that we carry and work with the community to make sure that they are exposed to books that will make children and young adults lifelong readers. That work, along with my previous experiences in the publishing and book industry, fuels what I do at the agency, working hands-on with authors, illustrators, editors and fellow publishing professionals.
I don't see how you balance it all! Put on your Indie hat for a second and tell me, as a bookstore owner, what are the most effective ways an author can contact/or market to an indie bookstore?
• If you have an Indie bookstore nearby, get to know them well. Ask the children’s book buyer if they would review a copy in the hopes that they can recommend it for the Indie Next List or feature it on their website or newsletter (and if the book buyer is also the bookstore owner and therefore, busy beyond belief, ask if anyone else on staff can do it!). In the Indie world, we talk quite a bit amongst ourselves and collaborate often, so a recommendation from a fellow Indie bookstore goes a long, long way.
• If you are willing to do events, (book signings, school visits, video conferences, etc.), ask them if they can connect you with the local school or community organizations with whom they will certainly have ties.
• If electronic or postal communications (as opposed to face to face) are your strongest tools (or possibly only tools, depending on where you live), be creative with the e-mail or letter you send to indie bookstore owners. Just telling them that your book was recently published doesn’t help – we are just as bombarded as everyone else in the book industry. And if you can, send them a galley or book (or at least an excerpt) – it’s always the writing or the illustrations that get us!
• Regardless of whether you are marketing to a bookstore or not… I would strongly recommend developing an online presence – whether on your own or with some help – and ensure that it accurately reflects who you are. You don’t need to have an account set up on every networking site on the web. Simply ask yourself what would make the most sense for you and then do that in a way that highlights your uniqueness.
• It makes sense to connect with the publicity department at your publishing house and alongside them, find ways that you can creatively market yourself. They are an ideal and logical ally.
• Regardless of who you are presenting yourself to, always do so professionally and after doing a bit of homework (Sound familiar? Hmmm, query letter anyone?).
What are a few tips on how to run an effective book signing? What do you think an author should do to ensure its success?
During the planning stage, ask if they can arrange a school visit that same day (even if when you start, you can afford to do so free of charge or for a nominal fee). A child’s interest in and enthusiasm for your book will more than likely mean a larger turnout at the store. Also ask if the bookstore can partner with the local public library (the bedrock of many communities) or local restaurant (food at en event always helps), as it is invaluable to reach out to different constituents of the community. Think of creative ways to tie the bookstore’s community to your book and make those suggestions. And as I mentioned before, make sure to tap your publisher’s publicity department.
(Clue #3 is the word "Marketing".)
For the actual event, make sure you know what is expected of you and if you are scheduled to talk, make sure you have a good plan for the talk or discussion and that you are well-rehearsed. Make sure that someone from the store will be by your side – they should lead the nuts and bolts of the event while you focus on talking about your book. If you are in a community where you have any kind of roots, make sure you personally invite everyone you know and ask each of them to bring a few people.
I believe we, as authors and lovers of books, should be sure we are supporting our local Indie bookstores. How can we, as authors, help/support bookstore owners more?
- Become part of the IndieBound community and always, always use the IndieBound logo on your website and marketing pieces.
- Of course, also become an IndieBound affiliate so people can buy your book through an independent bookstore.
- And needless to say, patronize independent bookstores – it’s the only way to ensure indie bookstores continue to serve our communities in ways no one else can.
Let's switch our focus. Put on your agent hat and tell me how you and your literary agency support your authors' books once they are on the shelf?
I throw a party for them every day! :) We love to talk to our authors and illustrators about different ways to connect to their readership and to the community at large. We ask our authors and illustrators to continue to be students of the industry alongside us.
Most importantly though, we support them as they continue to create new characters and devise new stories as their growth as writers and illustrators will only strengthen the work already on the shelf. Their job is to write and illustrate and we encourage them to continue to do so.
As an agent, what are you looking for in a writer/manuscript?
Work that moves me – whether through words, illustrations or both. I look for manuscripts and illustrations that speak to the rich, complex, diverse world we live in and hope to work with people that are just as passionate as I am about the vital function children’s books serve in our society.
Thanks for stopping by, Marietta!
My best to you Shelli and everyone in the blogging world! :)
Also, you can follow Marietta on Twitter @AgentZacker. and on Linked In at "Marietta Zacker". She reserves her Facebook page for personal use only, so don't try to Friend her :)